A codec (short for "compressor/decompressor") is one of the most important components of a digital video architecture. It is responsible for delivering a huge amount of raw data into a relatively tiny amount of space.

Sorenson - one of the few codecs that works equally well for DVD-ROM, CD-ROM and WWW.

Cinepak - best choice for slower CPUs

MPEG-1 - Very good image quality for CD-Rom. Poorly suited to full-resolution video; Well-established standard codec, plays in software on most recent computers; best for medium-quality video. Oldest MPEG audio standard, so most widely supported.

MPEG-2 - Television-quality video. Excellent quality (generally better than LaserDisc): standardized in hardware for DVD-Video players. Not playable on most machines built before 1989; high data rates (typically 400KBytes/sec+) not well-suited for network; licensing requires per-disc fees.

MPEG-4 - Internet video. Good quality at low data rates. Not well-suited to higher data rates; not fully defined yet.

QDesign - music and audio content, ideal for streaming over modem.

MPEG Audio Codecs

MPEG Layer 1 - CD-ROM audio; MPEG Layer ll - CD-ROM; DVD audio; MPEG Layer lll (MP3) - not well-suited to streaming at modem data rates.